There are over 1.6 billion Muslims all over the world who follow the Lunar Islamic (Hijri) calendar. Their holidays and celebrations mainly depend on the position of the moon so the dates differ every year. There are two major Islamic holidays celebrated worldwide: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Fitr will take place on Friday, 21st April in 2023. It is celebrated at the close of the Ramadan month. Eid al-Adha, on the other hand, will be celebrated on Wednesday, 28th June 2023 . It is the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah or the last month of the Lunar Islamic calendar.

Eid al-Fitr (Festival of Breaking Fast)

Eid al-Fitr takes place on the first day of Shawwl (i.e. the tenth month of the Lunar calendar). It is a festival celebrated worldwide by Muslims after the end of their holy month of Ramadan. 

Eid al-Fitr observed in a mosque
Eid al- Fitr prayer in a Mosque

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. In the Asian countries, elders of the family shower blessings and give money as gifts (known as ' Eidi ') to the children. People mostly visit their family and friends, prepare special food and sweets, and exchange gifts among themselves. 

On the day of Eid , Muslims follow their ancient cultural traditions where they visit Mosques for a special morning prayer. After their prayer ends, they gather and embrace each other, and exchange Eid greetings.

Eid al- Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)

Eid  al- Adha is a massive celebration in Islam. It takes place on the 10th day of the Dhu al- Hijjah , the last or 12th month of the Hijri calendar, in honor of Ibrahim sacrificing his son Ishmael to Allah's command of him.

Eid al-Adha
Eid  al- Adha is a holiday where animals are sacrificed

Islam celebrates this festival by slaughtering animals as a sacrifice ritual and sharing them in three parts: one for themselves, one for the family, and the third is distributed among the poor and needy.

Also known as Zakat , this charitable act is a means of reminding people to help and share their happiness and blessings with people in need. Eid al- Adha is marked as a special day in the spirit of sharing and sacrifice.

Families exchange sweets and gifts. People visit their friends and extended family to share greetings. Eid al- Adha is also known as the Greater Eid . It completes the annual Holy Pilgrimage of Hajj.

Mawlid al- Nabi

Mawlid al- Nabi marks the birthday of Prophet Muhammad and is the 12th day of the third month of the Islamic calendar. It is a popular and significant holiday in many Muslim countries. It is to be celebrated on Wednesday, 27th September 2023. People attend prayer services and lectures, share meals and sweets among families, participate in marches, and recite Quran on this day.

Al- Hijri

The  Islamic New Year  is known as Al- Hijri . Prophet Mohammad established the first Islamic state in 622 CE on this very day. Al- Hijri is the mark of Islam as a community of people. It will take place on Wednesday, 19th July 2023. People make New Year's resolutions on this day. This day follows no such notable rituals or celebrations.

Ashura

Ashura is a famous occasion among all Muslims. The two sectors of Islam, Shias and Sunnis, mostly honor this occasion in their own ways. For Shia Muslims, this is a somber holiday observing the  martyrdoms of Husayn , grandson of Prophet Muhammad. People follow this day through mourning rituals, parades, passion plays, etc.

Sunni Muslims follow this day as the exit of Noah from the ark and Moses being rescued from the Egyptians. They keep fast on this day. In 2023, Ashura will take place on Friday, 28th of July.

List of Islamic Holidays in 2023

HOLIDAY GIVES YOU DAY
Lailat al Miraj  February 18 Saturday
Lailat al Bara'ah  March 19 Sunday
Ramadan (start)  March 23 Thursday
Laylat al Qadr  April 18 Tuesday
Eid -al- Fitr (End of Ramadan)  April 22 Saturday
Waqf al Arafa - Hajj  June 28 Wednesday
Eid -al- Adha  June 29 Thursday
Hijra - Islamic New Year  July 19 Wednesday
Day of Ashura / Muharram  July 28 Friday
Mawlid al- Nabi  September 27 Wednesday
milad un nabi  October 09 Monday

The lore behind the celebration of Eid al- Adha

It is said that the Prophet Ibrahim went through several hurdles, trials, and tests in his life. In one of his major tests, Allah (God) commanded him in his dream to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. Prophet Muhammad and Ishmael agreed to Allah's command as an act of obedience and went to Mount Moriah to fulfill Allah's words from him.

Prophet Muhammad laid his son with his forehead against the ground and with a sharp knife on his neck. Allah stopped him when he was just about to sacrifice his son. He provided Ibrahim with a large lamb to slaughter in place of his son. Ibrahim sacrificed the animal as a mark of his willingness to sacrifice in the name of God. Thus, this day is also called the Feast of Sacrifice.